Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Two years ago, Moscow viewed a US-German standoff over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a litmus test of transatlantic energy.

Russia had invested heavily in the 750-mile undersea pipeline linking it to Germany and wanted to increase global sales and boost economic leverage over Europe and its energy-intensive heavy industries. Germany, the biggest consumer, was there from the start. Washington was not.

The United States did not want the new high-capacity submarine supply to replace the old land lines that passed through Ukraine, providing vital income to Kyiv’s increasingly western-oriented rulers.

Russia reasoned that if Washington blocked Nord Stream 2, which it eventually did, it would show that European power was no longer flowing through Berlin, but in fact through the White House.

Fast forward two years, and reading about this post-Angela Merkel transatlantic dynamic, and in particular Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed invasion of Ukraine, has become one of the most pressing political issues that vex the Kremlin.

Rare Moment of Steel Leadership: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s refusal to, in his own words, ‘be pressured’ into going it alone by sending tanks into Ukraine – instead he stood his ground and asked US President Joe Biden to join him in the business, risking the wrath of Putin – showed the transatlantic power dynamic has changed.

Europe has been slow to react to the deep fissures in American politics and the uncertainty that another Trump-style presidency could create among its allies. Decades of reasonably unshakable faith, if not outright confidence, in the United States have been replaced by stubborn European pragmatism – and Germany is leading the way.

Read the full analysis here.


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